CHRISTMAS fever gripped Cosham as families gathered to celebrate the switch-on of the shopping district’s festive lights tonight.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller, joined Santa and Dame Tilly Trott, from Kings panto Jack and the Beanstalk, on stage to press a plunger to illuminate the High Street.
Visitors were treated to dance and singing performances from groups while soaking up the Christmas atmosphere. A dazzling fireworks display finished things off.
It was a special occasion for couple Ricky Harding, 25, and Maria Marsh, 25, of Wymering, who had their first date at the Cosham lights switch-on in 2013. They brought along their three children.
Ricky said: ‘The kids love it. It brings everyone together for Christmas time and it makes you realise Christmas is coming.
‘It makes you feel excited and ready for Christmas.’
Maria said: ‘It’s nice because the children’s friends are here. Everyone meets up and goes to the chippy afterwards.’
Shops stayed open while doughnuts were given out by Tesco staff.
Kim Gregory, of Cosham, was there with her 10-month-old son Edward and daughters Annie, nine, and Marla, seven.
Kim said: ‘We’ve come every year since they were small and they love it. We get pictures of them on the train ride and with the tree. I have just bought a Christmas hat, that’s me getting ready for Christmas.’
Tracey Gratton, turned out with her children Peter, nine, Amelia, six, and her friend Katie Cutley with her children Brooke, six, and Randy, eight. Tracey said: ‘It brings everyone together, the atmosphere is brilliant.’